The NYC Hot Sauce Expo returns this weekend to heat up the borough once again with 50+ craft hot sauce makers. As always there is far more than the next hot sauce tasting to keep your burning tongue distracted. Aside from their marquee event, Guinness Book of Records Carolina Reaper Pepper Eating Contest, there will be more chihuahua’s under one roof than a Mexican cartoon kennel at the Chihuahua Beauty Pageant. Maybe the most off beat event at any food focused festival we’ve attended. We’re especially looking forward to finding out what the Volcanic Peppers Spicy Pizza of DOOM Challenge is and how we conquer it without killing ourselves. The event list deepens with everything from Hottest Ramen to Slaytanic Burrito contest to the prestigious Hot Sauce Hall of Fame inductions. We covered this back in 2016 and High River Sauces, the event sponsors, growth clearly has been massive, and inherently hot. With two full days of pepper craziness, prepare yourself. Fill your camelbak with some cold milk and pick up a jumbo loaf of Bimbo as you head to Greenpoint for the mouth burning mania. April 14th and 15th from 10am-6pm in Brooklyn.
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We’ve been talking a lot about tomatoes this month on the socials. The Killer Tomato Festival takes all that juicy, sweet talk and packs it up with an impressive chef line up and a musical act seemingly named for this convergence of nightshade lovers, G.Love and Special Sauce. By impressive we mean 33 local chefs and 4 visiting chefs all making tomato based dishes for you to taste. The food is backed by 20 mixologists from Atlanta’s best bars keeping this whole party well lubricated. The best part of the entire angry tomato theme is that in partnership with Georgia Organics, who’s mission is to connect organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families, they are helping locals eat better at home instead of just in restaurants. The king pin on the vine for all this is Chef Ford Fry who, besides his Atlanta restaurant dynasty tearing up top 10 lists for years, he has the distinction of Esquire magazine’s Best New Restaurant of the Year. Not shabby on the kitchen chops we’d say. If you’re thirsty for some ‘matos and you’re local or visiting Atlanta, this might be your Sunday move. Sunday, July 15th from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M in Atlanta.
Sandwiches are a perfected item. That’s why this competition is like a battle royal between the most perfect or perfect things. Like Diamonds vs Puppies OR 1986 Mötley Crüe vs a 1974 Ferrari Dino. Of course none of that is edible which means less fun than the Thrillist Hall of Heroes happening this Sunday. The heaviest of NYC hitters will be on deck including Melt Shop, Cafe Habana and Sticky’s Finger Joint. $65 gets you all the sandos you can shovel in that gaping hole of amazement you call your mouth. Wash it down courtesy of Pepsi 1893. Sunday, April 10th from 1PM-4PM @ The Bowery Hotel in NYC.
We love a good Taste Festival. Next week is Sydney. Some of Australia’s greatest chefs are cooking up some of their most creative and favorite bites for you to snack on while sipping that lil’ something you best have in your other hand. By that we mean BOOZE. This event is jammed with options and, from what we can tell, really well organized. Their list of attractions hits every possible machination from tastings to lounges to learning. Wish we could get down under but hope some of you already are. March 10-13 at Centennial Park.
Don’t let the name fool you — the Phuket Vegetarian Festival may be the most hardcore festival we’ve ever heard of. While veggie-friendly eats do play a role in this firecracker-friendly affair on Thailand’s largest island, this nine-day religious festival is really known for its ceremonies that include acts of self-mutilation and face and body piercing with knives, stakes, and household items by entranced mediums — called mah song — who parade through the city in outfits of white. While these and other rituals like firewalking, bladed ladder climbing, and bathing in hot oil may make you cringe, they demonstrate a belief that the gods will heal any wounds and are part of a larger goal of purification that includes abstinence from sex, alcohol, and meat. But don’t worry — like any good festival, this one doesn’t forget the food, and je, special vegetarian dishes marked by red and yellow signs, is one festival tradition that’s easy to stomach. Although you may encounter a bleeding mah song or two as you chow down, that will be the only surprise — apparently je tastes just like the meat-based classics. October 1-9 in Phuket, Thailand.